NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodNaples


GOALLLLLLL! Naples is getting its first professional soccer team

That's right, Naples is getting its first professional sports team
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 20:41:37-05

NAPLES, Fla. — The United Soccer League (USL) is bringing a soccer team to Naples at its new $150 million stadium at the Paradise Sports Complex.

USL 1 has teams all over the country, in cities like Charleston and Knoxville for the southeast, but now this new team in Naples, a smaller metropolitan area compared with most other teams, is one the county wants to make work.

"Our vision is not just to create a championship-winning team, but to establish a legacy that resonates with the pride and identity of a vibrant town," said Roberto Moreno, CEO of USL Naples. "With an already active and growing sporting community, Naples and Collier County deserves and craves a family-friendly professional sports experience."

On Wednesday, soccer fans, executives and some of the county's leaders celebrated as they kicked off this new chapter in sports and entertainment for the town.

Chris Hall, a Collier County Commissioner and supporter of the project, is confident in the positive economic impact it will bring.

"These guys are putting their heart and soul into this team and they're going to create a culture and an image that number one, we can be proud of number two, that people will come from all over the country to see," said Hall.

For Collier County, tourism is a top economic driver and we already see it with youth soccer tournaments. However, professional soccer is an entirely different culture.

Hall says the club has a seven-year commitment with the option to extend. The stadium will bring pitch-side seating, VIP suites and a 360-degree walkable viewing experience.

"Look, soccer is not just a game. It's a lifestyle and we want to inspire the next generation to embrace the love for the game and all the values it represents," said Moreno.

With the excitement rallying around this team right now, USL Naples will be hosting a kickoff party for the public on January 27.

The team's inaugural season is set to begin in March 2025, giving them 14 months to get a team, staff and a season in place.